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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

Law                                    209
German law as described by Tacitus. There are also 'self-sales*
into the position of a son, which lead us to assume that a father
possessed a certain f atria poUstas even over a grown-up son, as
otherwise the purchaser in such a case would not have received
any consideration.
Only two types of marriage settlements are known to us—the
settlement made by the husband for the benefit of the wife,
and that made by the wife for the benefit of the husband. If
it was the husband who made the settlement, he very often
transferred his whole present and future property to his wife and
to their children. That of course implies that by law he had
such a wide right of usufruct and of administration over the
wife's property during marriage that it was not a matter of
practical importance to him if he was no longer the owner of
his property: that was the case so long as he did not divorce
his wife. During his marriage he could not transfer any valuable
object to a third person without the express consent of his wife
and possibly of his eldest son as the representative of the
children. That is why in many contracts of sale we find a
declaration of consent by the wife and by the eldest son. As
in those cases the wife and the children had already during the
lifetime of the head of the family become the real owners of the
property, there was no succession at his death. When he died,
the ownership was not changed, only the right of usufruct and
administration was extinguished.
In the law of procedure appeal to oracles was preserved for
a considerable period. The decision of Amun of the Siwa oasis
concerning the divine descent of Alexander is perhaps the last
historical evidence of it. But the majority of actions were
presumably decided by a purely secular procedure which was
conducted entirely in writing. An action consisted of state-
ments of claim, defence, and one further pleading on each side.
Oral argument was not admitted. At this time we already find
it customary for litigants to go, not directly to the courts, but
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